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#566039 04/08/24 12:13 PM
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wyzoon Offline OP
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First off I just wanted to say thanks for all the help this forum has provided. I'm a long time lurker and have spent hours digging through posts!

Onto my question... I recently bought a house in Grand Junction, CO with an 1/2 acre irrigation canal fed pond that was silted/clayed in to about 3ft. Every year when the canal is closed the pond drains. 30 years ago they put bentonite to seal the pond but that is long gone. I recently re-dug the pond, lined it, put geotextile over the first 20ft of the liner for protection/friction, and created a silt pond. Right now I have a 5-6 feet of exposed geotextile over liner that I want to cover up and plant to avoid erosion. I've gone back and forth over using the clay/silt I dug out, getting topsoil brought in, or getting fill dirt brought it. The topsoil sounds like it could cause algae issues, it feels wrong to throw the silt/clay back in the pond after digging it out, and I'm not sure the fill dirt would sustain anything. I've dug through the forums and there isn't a ton on how to deal with lined ponds so I thought I would throw this question out to the experts.

Any suggestions would be great!

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Just to be clear, are you talking about the "apron" portion of the liner (that is above the water level) that needs to be covered, or a portion of liner in the pond that will be underwater at fill-up that needs to be covered?

If the apron that is on land, then I would use some topsoil if you can get a decent price on delivered material. You want to get that groundcover thriving before a big rain washes eroded material into your pond.

If underwater, then I don't think any of your material can be so "fertile" as to cause algae issues. If you do cover with some decent soil, then the aquatic plants that get established there will actually compete with the algae for nutrients in the water column. Those plants will probably get established more easily in topsoil than in a lightly-compacted clay with close to zero organic material.

I am sorry that we do not have a lot of "liner specialists" on the forum. We do get a fair number of questions on that topic. I believe(?) esshup has supervised multiple liner installations on the ponds of clients, and might be a good info source if he drops into your thread. (I am NOT an expert, just trying to flesh out your questions since you are the expert on the exact conditions at your pond site and can add more info to the discussion.)

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wyzoon Offline OP
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Thanks for the great response! I was generally talking about the apron, but am also a bit curious about adding some soil below the water line as well. It's good to know that I won't be creating an issue with algae by using topsoil below the water line. It looks like I'm going to be trying to find a decent amount of top soil for a good price.

Regarding the ground cover, I was thinking of using rye grass mixed with another slower growing cover to give that slower one a bit of time to get established without risking the erosion.

I was talking with Turner Seed earlier today but they don't have a ton of experience in my climate and so didn't have a ton of info for me. Any other suggestions would be more than welcome!

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Lots of people on the forum have had good luck with the rye sprouting up fast and the other grass mixes helping to fill in the gaps.

Have you met your County NRCS agent yet? They are usually a pretty good resource on projects like this. In some places they may even have free or subsidized grass seed, or have a cost share program for erosion control. Never hurts to ask. At a minimum, they might be able to tell you the best grass seed mix for your area.

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wyzoon Offline OP
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I have not met with the local NRCS yet, but that's a great idea. I'll call them! Thanks.


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